Preventive care at forefront of proactive health management

Men’s health encompasses a spectrum of challenges, from heart disease to cancer and more. A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine highlights higher mortality rates among men in the United States due to these conditions, emphasizing the critical need for proactive health care measures.

At the forefront of proactive health management is preventative care. Regular check-ups, screenings and lifestyle adjustments play a pivotal role in mitigating health risks and promoting overall well-being for men.

“The biggest things that men can do to help prevent cancer from arising have to do with lifestyle changes,” said Dr. Nils Arvold, a radiation oncologist with Aspirus Health.

This includes maintaining a healthy weight, adopting a balanced diet rich in fiber, vegetables and fish, and minimizing habits like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

Preventative care also extends to health screenings and regular visits with a primary care provider.

“Having that relationship is very important,” Arnold said. “They can monitor you as you go through life to try to make it less likely you’ll develop certain diseases such as cancer, but also that if you start to have symptoms of something to be detected as soon as you can.”

Aspirus health screening guidelines suggest the following screenings for men. Following these guidelines can significantly contribute to early detection and prevention of health issues, as emphasized by Arvold.

• Cholesterol, HDL, LDL and triglycerides: Every five years, depending on risk.

• General physical exam: Every two to three years.

• Immunizations: Diphtheria-Tetanus, every 10 years. Influenza, annually. Pneumococcal vaccine, once after age 65.

• Colon cancer screening: Persons of average risk should begin screening at age 45.

• Lung cancer screening: Depends on risk. Talk to your primary care provider to see if you qualify for a low-dose CT scan.

Arvold stressed the value of establishing a long-term relationship with a provider.

“It may seem unnecessary if you’re feeling well, but there are so many things that can be detected by a primary care provider that you might not even think about,” he said.